Friday, February 28, 2014


I’ve been pretty slack on blogging recently. I’ve been running, don’t worry, I just wasn’t finding interesting things to write about afterwards. A couple of weeks ago I ran a 15.5 miler before I left Antigua. It was a nice loop run that I started early in the morning. At mile 9 I ran past a gas station and took a pretty solid break to refuel with my Gu and buy some water. The whole thing was pretty slow and uninspired. The training program I am following has me running 3 times a week and cross training on the other days. I decided that this is probably a great program for decreasing a 5k or 10k time but doesn’t really feel like I am putting enough miles on my legs to then go out and run 20+. I decided that I wanted to continue to follow the speed drills but add a few more distance runs in every week.  I left Antigua a few weeks ago for a couple of different jobs and haven’t been finding the time to write amongst it all. So here is a quick recap;
I sailed from Antigua to St. Thomas on a 130’ Wally. She is an amazing boat to sail and we hit 17 knots as we reached off between St. John and St. Thomas. Unfortunately, she was built as a Mediterranean day sailing/racing boat and doesn’t fare too well when she sails offshore. We were taking her to St. Thomas to get loaded onto a ship that will bring her back to the Med. We were in St. Thomas a week early in order to get extra weight off the boat and into a container. The crane that lifts the boat out of the water and on to the ship has a load capacity that is roughly the weight of the boat we were shipping. In order to avoid lots of limit alarms and annoying beeping we took off everything that wasn’t completely necessary to ship. We arrived on Thursday night and took the weekend off. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a weekend off because I haven’t spent a lot of time in St. Thomas. In truth I avoid it because 1. It’s a shit hole and 2. There are so many other fantastic places to be around these parts. As luck would have it a friend of a friend was getting married and needed a +1 to go to the wedding with that weekend! Some very good friends of mine were on the guest list and many of the bride’s party went to UNH! I ran the morning of the wedding, did some work on the boat and got picked up by the groom and friends on the way to the ceremony. We stopped to fill the truck with ice, since it was a Caribbean wedding and you can never have too much, and headed to the venue. We had a great time dancing and not surprisingly, we all ended up in the pool with our party clothes on!
We got back to work on Monday. We had a pretty regular schedule, 8-5, and in preparation for 8 Tuff I ran a hill behind the marina every morning and again after work. The week went by pretty quickly and I bored the ferry for St. John Friday night after work. I wrote about the race already, so you can check it out in my other post.
After the race on Saturday I headed to Tortola to do a handover with the next boat I was joining. The crew is on holiday and I am looking after the boat and ticking off a small jobs list. While in Tortola I caught the gold medal hockey game with some pretty happy Canadians!
I took the early ferry back to St. Thomas on Monday in order to get the ship loaded later that night. Putting a 130’ super yacht on a 500’ super tanker is a pretty daunting and fascinating thing to do. We waited for the wind to die down with the sunset and began loading around 6pm. Everything went smoothly and sometime around 11 we headed back to the hotel and crashed into our beds.
On Tuesday I had told a friend I would help him sail his fast catamaran from the North Sound, Virgin Gorda, back to Tortola. I woke up early Tuesday, hopped back on the ferry to Tortola, drove out to Trellis bay and caught the North Sound Ferry. By noon we were hauling the main sail up on Soma and heading out of the channel. We had an awesome sail downwind that afternoon. It’s a funny coincidence that we don’t always sail in my line of work and it’s a real pleasure when we do!
On Wednesday I gave a friend a quick island tour of Tortola and sent him off on the ferry to enjoy the North Sound on his week off. With all this boat hopping and tour guiding, running got a little lost in the shuffle.

So, I ran 15 on the 10th, hills every day last week and 8 Tuff last Saturday. Yesterday morning I got back in the saddle with 7.5 flat, fast miles. I ran an 8:12 pace and felt pretty good. This morning I went back to the training program with 6X1000m repeats working on speed. I averaged 4:40 per k but need to do the math to see what that is in miles. I am looking at running my first 20 miler (a week late) tomorrow. Yikes!
Sorry for the lengthy and long overdue post, here are some photos to make up for it.

Sailing up on Angels' Share

Wedding view

Do you think we have enough?

Go Canada!

Island Tour

Island Tour

Island Tour

Sunday, February 23, 2014

8 Tuff

I ran the 8 Tuff Miles race in St. John for the third time. The race goes from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay from sea level to sea level and up 1000 feet. Last year when I ran this race I had been living in San Francisco and was running a lot of hill miles. This year, since I have been focusing on distance, I haven’t been putting as many miles in on hills. I had a pretty good race last year and tried to tell myself not to be disappointed if this year I wasn’t as fast. I’m currently bouncing between the USVI, BVI and Antigua for work and am in full nomad mode. Though I have been looking forward to the race for a couple weeks I managed to wake up in the morning totally unprepared for it. I don’t usually race with headphones but I had planned on making a play list and running with music. I didn’t get a chance to go to the store beforehand to buy my race morning breakfast of a banana with peanut butter and cinnamon-rasin bagel. The night beforeI broke my pre-race rule and had a few drinks with my friend Keith, got home late and forgot to plug in my watch to charge it up. After a few anxious dreams about missing the race and having no watch, I woke up at 6:15 feeling kind of blah. Keith drove me to the start and the race got underway pretty much on time, or at least on time, island time. The first 1/2 mile brings you out of the park, into Cruz Bay town and around the round about with a steel drum band playing. The steel drum always makes me smile and I had a big one on my face as I headed up the first hill. I say first but I really mean THE. This hill keeps going up for the 1/4 of the race. I would say there are 3 distinct hill, the third being the hardest because it comes after the “highest point, 999 feet” sign.
Thankfully, it rained for pretty much the entire race. Though it is the end of rainy season, this year in the Caribbean has been particularly wet. The rain on the day of the race wasn’t just misting passing showers, either. It Rained. And it felt so good! I think it helped a few people push a bit more and go faster. The first woman to finish set a new course record for women’s time. The hills are hard and seem to just keep going but the best part is the 2 mile down hill finish. Once you hit the last hill at mile 6 you are home free, just don’t fall!  With all the rain the roads had little rivers crossing them and the finishing shoot was quickly turning into a mud bath. Though I was going as fast as I could I had to hold back a little to ensure I didn’t eat any pavement in the last mile. I finished with a time of 1:09:44 and ranked 14th female and ~95th overall. It really is a fun race with some great views and moments of self evaluation.
Because the roads on St. John are pretty narrow and the turns are pretty extreme the race committee gets the island to agree to close the road on the morning of the race. This is fantastic for running but not so good for getting back to Cruz Bay after you finish. Every year a few of the early finishers jog back over to the other side and I toyed with the idea this year but alas the lure of a free tshirt and local beer got the best of me. I joined some friends at the finish and headed over to the post race bar for a beer. Once the road is allowed to open again it is a free for all with taxis and hitching to get back over the hill. We took our sweet time finishing our beer and Johnny cake and managed to hitch a ride in the back of a pickup truck all the way back to town. I’m pretty sure the ride back is always the best part of the race.
I really enjoy the race and the island vibe it brings out. Almost 2000 people come out to run and everyone else helps at a water stand or just stands on the side of the road to cheer. Running in the rain is fun but cheering in the rain is not and I thank everyone who stood under umbrellas, palm trees or trash bags to watch the race.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superyacht racing

This weekend was the Super Yacht Challenge regatta in Antigua. After 13 miles on Wednesday my legs were pretty sore. Thursday I went out to practice on Marie, the 180' ketch that I was sailing on for the weekend. Marie races with more than 30 people on board and everyone has a job to do. My job was to tend the starboard running back stay through the tacks and handle the mizzen staysail halyard for the downwind legs. Though its the shorter mast, the mizzen mast on Marie is the tallest mast I have worked with. The mizzen staysail gets hoisted on every downwind leg, dropped before a jibe, and hoisted again after the jibe is complete. It is a furled sail that is relatively simple to deploy so it is used a lot. The mizzen team was pretty busy in all the races. We raced one long race on Friday, 2 short races on Saturday and a single race on Sunday. We sailed the boat well, improving everyday and making gains all over the course. It's pretty hard to describe super yacht racing so I'm just going to put up some photos I took over the weekend.